Wants and Needs: A Checklist for Buying a New House
Most people don’t buy a new home on a whim. Chances are you’ve been dreaming about your new house for months or even years. After hours of browsing beautiful homes on Realtor.com, Houzz, Pinterest, etc. or viewing a few open houses, you can now picture your perfect house down to the smallest detail whether that house is a sprawling ranch on a nice-sized piece of land or a high-rise condo smack in the middle of downtown.
That’s great! It’s good to know what you want, but it’s even more important to know what you need.
Determine What Is Make or Break
The first step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know what kind of budget you’re working with. You don’t want to fall in love with the ‘perfect’ house only for it to be way outside of what you can afford.
Now take that mental image of your perfect house and start to break it down. What is a non-negotiable about it? Think about needs in terms of absolute. It needs to have a roof, walls, a kitchen, a bathroom. What does else this house need to be functional for you?
Does it need to be a short commute from work? Does it need four bedrooms? Does it need to be wheelchair accessible?
Pay attention to when you use the phrase “would be nice.” “It would be nice to have a large backyard,” or, “A two-car garage would be nice.” This is a telling sign that these features should be put on the ‘want’ list.
Sitting down with a realtor (like me!) can make this process easier. They should know how much your ‘want’ features can add to the price of a house so you can know what you might be able to realistically find within your budget.
Prioritizing wants: does it add value?
In real estate terms, these are features that most people consider useful, safe, or convenient. This could include granite counter tops, hardwood floors, a beautiful view, a good school district, energy-efficient windows, land, or nice landscaping. These are features that will add value for future homebuyers.
Deciding whether a ‘want’ is a value-added item can help determine which wants to prioritize. Maybe you would love a reading nook and granite countertops. While not everyone will value a spot specifically made for reading, most homebuyers will value gorgeous countertops. Sliding granite countertops to the top of the wants list can help ensure that in the future when you go to sell, your house will sell quickly.
Use a Checklist
Wrap your mind around your non-negotiables by writing it down and get your realtor on the same page as you. This is where a checklist can come in handy.
If you’re ready to starting figuring out what you new home needs, you can save my free Must-Haves versus Maybe-Wants included below!
And if you’re ready to make list like this, you’re ready to contact a realtor…I’m hoping that’s me. Let me buy you some coffee and let’s talk about the wants and needs you have for your next home!